The Pittsburgh Steelers defense has been hit very hard by the injury bug early in the 2012 NFL season. Because of that, their defense has not been nearly as intimidating as it has in previous seasons. Through the first 4 weeks of the year (including their week 4 bye), the Steelers defense is currently 5th in the league in yards per game (291.), 3rd in passing yards allowed (190.3) and 14th in rushing yards allowed per game (101). The most telling stat, however, is the fact that they are 12th in scoring defense, allowing 25 points per game.
The Steelers defense may be in for a pleasant surprise this Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, as there is a chance they will get both James Harrison and Troy Polamalu back for the game. They’re going to need all the help they can get in order to contain the Eagles potent offensive attack. Philly currently ranks 5th in the league in total yards per game on offense (417.8), 10th in passing yards (272) and 7th in rushing yards (145.8). Even with those solid offensive numbers, the Eagles are only 29th in the league in scoring, averaging a modest 16.5 points per game.
If the Steelers don’t have Polamlu and Harrison in the lineup, there is a good chance that the Eagles will be able to convert a good portion of those yards into points. If they are able to do that, I don’t think the Steelers offense will be able to keep up the scoring pace. Considering the depth and quality of Philadelphia’s front 4 will be going against a subpar Pittsburgh offensive line, Ben Roethlisberger could be in for a very long day.